Retail footfall dropped sharply in April as wet weather spurred declines in shopper numbers across high streets, retail parks and shopping centres.
Retail footfall dropped 3.3% in the four weeks to April 28, exacerbated by a 4% decline in high street shopper numbers, according to the BRC-Springboard footfall and vacancies monitor.
Retail footfall fell across all categories, and was down 1.8% and 3.5% across retail parks and shopping centres respectively during the period.
On a three-month basis, footfall was down 3.5% overall.
Springboard marketing and insights director Diane Wehrle said: “Much could be made of the adverse impact on April’s footfall of Easter shifting to March, but even looking at March and April together – so smoothing this out – still demonstrates that footfall has plummeted.
“A 3.3% drop in April, following on from 6% in March, resulted in an unprecedented drop of 4.8% over the two months.
“Not since the depths of recession in 2009 has footfall over March and April declined to such a degree, and even then the drop was less severe at 3.8%.”
There was no growth in footfall across any region of the UK, marking the second consecutive month of decline.
The slowest rate of decline in footfall came from Wales, down 1.5%, while shopper numbers registered the steepest drop in Northern Ireland, down 7.3%.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “A wet start to April had a dampening effect on visits across the UK’s shopping locations, adding to the long-term downward trend in footfall resulting from changing consumer behaviour.
“That shift in the way we shop, coupled with a highly challenging business environment, is having a significant impact on the nation’s high streets: in April nearly one in 10 shops in town centres was vacant.”